New Lab-Grown Magnesite Mineral Could Help Halt Global Warming

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 16, 2018

Industrialized nations continue to spew various greenhouse gasses into our planet's atmosphere at an alarming rate, gradually increasing the temperature of Earth on a global scale as more and more heat from the Sun is trapped inside.

Since humans add 40 billion tons of extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year, doing the quick math tells us: It will take 20 billion tons of magnesite, per year, to trap all of that. Mass production of this mineral could provide a safer long term solution to reduce carbon emissions in atmosphere and to reverse climate change.

In their work, the scientists studied how a specific mineral, called magnesite, forms. Should the team's research be developed to an industrial scale, it might pave the way for Carbon dioxide to be removed from our planet's atmosphere.

A ton of natural magnesite can remove nearly half a ton of Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Professor Peter Kelemen (Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University) stated that the project's finding is important and it can potentially offer "a benign and relatively low-priced route to carbon storage, and perhaps even direct CO2 removal from air". "This is a process which takes hundreds to thousands of years in nature at Earth's surface. Firstly, we have explained how and how fast magnesite forms naturally", said Ian Power, the project leader of the study.

"It is really exciting that this group has worked out the mechanism of natural magnesite crystallization at low temperatures, as has been previously observed - but not explained - in weathering of ultramafic rocks", said Peter Kelemen, a professor at Columbia University who was not involved in the study. "This depends on several variables, including the price of carbon and the refinement of the sequestration technology, but we now know that the science makes it do-able". "The second thing we have done is to demonstrate a pathway which speeds this process up dramatically".

Researchers used polystyrene microspheres as a catalyst or to accelerate chemical reaction during the process and formed magnesite within 72 days. "This process takes place at room temperature, meaning that magnesite production is extremely energy efficient".

More from Professor Power: "For now, we recognize that this is an experimental process, and will need to be scaled up before we can be sure that magnesite can be used in carbon sequestration".

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE